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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Almond Cherry Bars: July Mystery Dish

Today I've got what's guaranteed to be the easiest and, I'd venture to say, the tastiest Almond Cherry Bar recipe out there!
 I created these as part of July's Mystery Dish.  Sarah over at The Pajama Chef was our gracious host this month and asked us to use at least three ingredients from the following list:

coffee (grounds or brewed)
sour cream
farro
almonds
cherries
watermelon
cantaloupe
jicama
cucumber
tomatoes
infused or flavored olive oil
fresh herbs (any kind)
cornmeal
hot peppers (any kind)

I say this every time, but I really look forward to the end of the month for this very reason!   I hope you enjoy it too!  I love taking on a new challenge and coming up with a fresh dessert recipe to add to my ever-growing arsenal. 
I have to say these bars are both gorgeous and luscious!  The deep red cherries really contrast with the white glaze and light-colored cookie dough base.  I make a version of them that are 100% homemade and I honestly can't decide which one I prefer.  My husband taste-tested for me and made the observation that they resemble a made-from-scratch Pop Tart in cookie bar form.  I have to agree.  The texture is different from your run-of-the-mill, store-bought Pop Tart, however.  The sour cream makes them ultra soft and moist.
They're semi-homemade and use a packaged sugar cookie mix, with a few add-ins like almond extract and chopped almonds, for the base.  Then come the sweet cherries in their syrup and another layer of the cookie dough base.  To finish off these pretties, I drizzled on a glaze, flavored with a little more almond extract.

{THE EASIEST ALMOND CHERRY BARS}

Cookie Dough Base:
2 packages (12.5 oz. total) sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1/4 c. salted butter (slightly softened)
1/4 c. (full fat) sour cream
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. chopped almonds

Cherry Filling:
3/4 can (about 16 oz.) cherry pie filling
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Glaze:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk (approximately)
1/4 tsp. almond extract

For the cookie dough base, mix all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Reserve 1/2 c. for the topping.  Press the remaining dough into an 8"x8" glass pan that's been sprayed with butter spray.  Prepare the filling by stirring together cherries and almond extract.  Spread over base.  Top with reserved topping.  The topping won't cover the entire top, but this will allow the pretty cherries to show through.  Do your best to press the dough pieces in your hand and arrange them evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 23-25 minutes, or until it starts to look golden brown.  Let cool, then prepare the glaze.

For the glaze, with a wire whisk, stir together powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. milk, and almond extract.  Slowly add more milk, a splash at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.  Cut and enjoy!
This, my friends, is what you call perfection in a bar!  The wonderful tastes of summer collide into complete cherry deliciousness!  I'm typically the queen of homemade desserts, but this month has been really busy at our house, so a semi-homemade confection is what it called for!  There's nothing wrong with that, especially when it tastes this good!

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Here's what the rest of the Mystery Dish bunch came up with this month.  Talk about eye candy!
July Mystery Dish via thepajamachef.com
  1. Watermelon Salsa - The Pajama Chef
  2. Farro Salad - Chez CateyLou
  3. Cherry Almond Coffee Cake - Two Happy Bellies
  4. Watermelon Fruit Salad with Mint Lime Dressing - Yummy Healthy Easy
  5. Toasted Almond Caramel Mocha Gelato - Culinary Couture Blog
  6. Cherry Galettes with Almond Sour Cream Crust - The Well Floured Kitchen
  7. Cherry Watermelon Granita - Joyful Healthy Eats
  8. Cherry Almond Mocha Smoothie - Baking a Moment
  9. Pepperoni Pasta Salad - I Want Crazy
  10. Almond Cherry Bars - I Dig Pinterest
  11. Cucumber Salsa - Weary Chef
  12. Cherry Almond Popsicles - Blahnik Baker
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I hope you enjoy the Almond Cherry Bars!  We sure did!

Last month I made some delicious Dutch Peach Pie Bars for the Mystery Dish Challenge...another fantastic summer dessert.  They're a reader favorite right now!

For all my past Mystery Dish creations go HERE.

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11 comments:

  1. my husband loves cherry pop tarts. well, really...all pop tarts. i bet he'd love these! they look great!

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  2. These look delicious! The glaze looks amazing on top of that cherry pie filling

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathleen! They were fantastic! We'll definitely be making them again and again. :)

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  3. Yum! I've never tried the cherry almond combo but it sounds delish!

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  4. OMG These look so great! I love a good cherry almond combo. I am bookmarking this and will definitely try this recipe out!

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  5. G'day from Oz. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us-that looks amazing!

    If you have a minute to spare I'd be thrilled if you could share your post at my weekly Say G'Day Saturday linky party. It has just started and this would be a fabulous addition.

    Best wishes for a great weekend.
    Natasha in Oz

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  6. your blog is always filled with yummy treats my friend.Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop xo

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  7. wow these look so yummy! I like that they are easy too!

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  8. I saw this on Pink When's 20 Amazingly Delicious Dessert ideas post. It sounded yummy and looks delicious too, pinning. Diane @Mrs U Makes.

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